MARQUETTE - Seventh-graders at Father Marquette Middle School spent Tuesday afternoon out in the cold for a good cause.
"Freezin' for a Reason" is a program to raise funds for the St. Vincent DePaul Society and to help raise awareness of homeless people during the winter months. The students shed their traditional winter attire to represent those who are left without shelter during the cold Upper Peninsula winters.
Each student was responsible for obtaining at least $52 in pledges for the two hours they would spend "freezin" on the corner of Washington and Seventh streets in Marquette. They held signs that had quotes such as "HONK! if you support our cause" and "Raise funds for local need."
Father Marquette Middle School seventh-graders line Washington Street at Harlow Park in Marquette Tuesday afternoon during their “Freezin’ for a Reason” fundraiser, which also was aimed at raising awareness of the homeless situation in the area. Sterling Wright holds his sign during the event. The effort also served as a service learning project for the students. (Journal photos by Matt Keiser)
"The idea for Freezin' for a Reason was introduced by two other churches in the area." said Laura Anderton,a seventh-grade teacher at Father Marquette Middle School. "St. John's and St. Joseph's in Ishpeming did a pledge two weeks ago. We have followed their lead and put ourselves in a friendly competition with them to raise at least $1,300."
There were a few lessons in the effort for students, as well.
"It makes us aware that there are some people out there (who) don't have as much as we do and don't have a home to stay in." said Paige Kachmarsky, a 13-year-old student at Father Marquette. "We need to see Jesus in everyone."
The class was separated into teams to come up with a design and create the poster that helped raise awareness, Kachmarsky said.
Kachmarsky exceeded her goal of $52.
Part of the curriculum for the seventh-graders at Father Marquette is a service learning program, Anderton said.
In preparation for Freezin' for a Reason, Anderton had Joy Neimi, a member of the Room at the Inn board, come and speak to the students about the needs of the community.
Room at the Inn is an emergency night shelter for adults that is run by an interfaith coalition of churches sharing the mission to provide support and shelter for the homeless in the Marquette area.
Anderton said she is very happy with how the project went and the students seemed to really enjoy it, and she plans on having seventh-graders do the project again next year.
Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.